Updated: Apr 12, 2021
When you think of Switzerland, you think of beautiful snow-capped mountains, grazing cows, houses with balconies laden with colourful flowers, and of-course watches, cheese and chocolates!! It is definitely that and much more!
A typical Swiss Alpine landscape - green pastures and mountains in backdrop!
Lush green valleys and mountains and sound of cow bells - a typical sight and sound of Switzerland Alpine regions
A picture postcard worthy small country situated in the heart of Central Europe sharing its borders, history and culture with its neighbours Germany, France, Italy and Austria.
Although you do not really think of Swiss history when you think of Switzerland, it does have an interesting past! It is believed that Stone Age hunters have been living in Switzerland before the last Ice Age. Switzerland’s official name is Swiss Confederation from the Latin Confoederatio Helvetica (ch) – you will see ch on website domains, cars etc.. It comes from the Celtic tribe the Helvetians who started settling in Switzerland from 500 BC. These tribes preferred the mountains instead of lakes – you can see the word Helvetia on Swiss coins and stamps.
Pristine turquoise lake, mountains and picturesque village by the shore of lake - a common sighting through out the length and breadth of the country
The Old Swiss Confederacy was founded in August 1291 therefore; Switzerland's national holiday is celebrated on 1st August. In early 16th century, it suffered a huge loss to the French at the Battle of Marignano which led it to let go of expansion plans and avoid conflicts. However in the 18th century it was invaded by the French but after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, it was agreed that a ‘neutral’ Switzerland would bring a lot of stability within the region and a declaration affirming Switzerland’s “perpetual neutrality” within the international community was signed at the Vienna Congress of 1815. This was an important step considering country’s strategic location guarding the Alps!
Since then Switzerland continued to remain neutral and has never joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the European Union. Only in 2002 it joined the United Nations.
Today Switzerland is a Federal republic with 26 cantons, its capital being Bern, however, the largest city of Switzerland is Zürich. Most common language is German, followed by French, Italian and Romansh.
Sleepy mountain village of Gimmelwald
The mountain scenery is undoubtedly, what defines Swiss holiday memories! The two main mountain ranges are the Alps (south and east) and the Jura (north and west), separated by the Swiss Plateau which also includes a large number of hills.